The Big Nest finds its family


Boys & Girls Aid put out a call for foster parents to live in our new emergency foster care facility, the ‘Big Nest’, back in July. We had an overwhelming response from qualified applicants, but one couple in particular stood out.

Rebecca and Kennedy’s combination of experience, empathy, genuine love for youth and commitment to Boys & Girls Aid’s mission made them the perfect candidates to take on this exciting new project. We sat down with Rebecca about their upcoming journey with the Big Nest.

Kennedy and I met in 2010 while working for an innovative, cross-cultural youth development program that offered 'high-risk' youth the opportunity to gain global perspectives while participating in service-learning projects in Thailand and Ecuador. The first several years our relationship was largely focused on caring for my mother, who suffered from early onset Alzheimer's, which was incredibly difficult, but the experience also brought us close quickly, and ultimately set the stage for a life-long partnership built on trust, empathy and great love.

We both spent the past two decades working in nonprofit management and consulting with a special focus on education and youth development. This was how we became acquainted with BGAid and the agency's longstanding reputation for taking such good care of the children they serve, as well the families who foster and adopt them. More recently, Kennedy has been trying her hand as a winemaker, and I am launching a small business that will better connect talented job seekers to meaningful work opportunities. We also love to hike, kayak, bike, travel to new places, and make homemade pizza on the grill.

We decided to become foster parents because we both really love young people. I wholeheartedly believe in the power of a caring adult in the life of every child, and Kennedy deeply understands the overwhelming value and difference that a stable, consistent home can make in the life of a young person. We also believe that if you can say 'yes' to something important that will make the world a better place, you should say 'yes.' And so that's what we did.

During the past year as respite foster care providers, we have met some truly amazing young people. We were both surprised and impressed by how adaptable and generous the youth have been. At the beginning, we worried a lot about doing everything 'right' and having activities all planned out in advance. Thankfully we were 'schooled' by many of the youth to chill out and go with the flow, which was probably the best advice we have ever received as foster parents.

This journey with the Big Nest will provide some new challenges. Unlike the teenagers we’ve had in our home, babies and most kiddos still need a great deal of support from adults to simply survive in the world. They have also had fewer years to build up emotional walls and destructive behaviors. Our plan is to lean in and attach ourselves to these children in the most loving, caring ways possible, whether they are in our home for two days or two weeks or two months. I am also very excited for the chance to play Legos instead of Xbox more often.

On our best days, we try to find humor and make each other laugh. We also like to remind each other that we've been through really difficult times in our lives too, and we survived, in no small part due to our amazing community of friends who are just like family. Now is our time to be a family to others who need it. We're also practicing a new motto which we imagine using occasionally while stewarding the Big Nest: "What if we pretended just for a minute that this isn't hard?"

Ryan Imondi